PEORIA, Ill. — When you’re in your 70’s, it’s hard to keep up with teenagers.
But Chuck Westendorf and Steve Doty make it look easy.
“It’s something that’s been real good for us,” Doty said. “Keeps us going, keeps us involved. Keeps us halfway young.”
They are the co-founders of the Westy-Doty basketball camp. Each man coached high school basketball teams for over 30 years. Now in retirement, they’re still in gyms four weeks a year for their shooting, big man and guard camps.
They started the Westy-Doty camps in 2001 to teach the game to a new generation. The young players have come and gone but Westendorf, 74, and Doty, 71, remain coaches.
“I have a passion for the game and I like being around kids. When I taught school I thought it was a fun job and I look forward to maybe changing a kids life,” Westendorf said.
They worked together at Washington High School before Westendorf took assistant coaching jobs at Peoria Manual and Peoria High and helped both schools win state championships. Doty succeeded Westendorf as head coach in Washington.
They just finished up their summer camp for players from third grade through high school at Peoria Christian School. But that won’t end their relationships with the young players.
The veteran coaches say they love to catch up with their camp kids during the winter when they are playing for their school teams to see how much they have improved.
“We try to go to as many games we can. It’s hard to get to everybody’s game. If it’s a local game, grade school or high school, we try to get there,” Doty said. “It’s neat to see them get better and how much they will grow from grade school to high school.”
They aren’t sure how much longer they’ll work the Westy-Doty camps. However, they appear to be going strong and they are energized when former camp players come back to see them.
“Kids we had over 30 years ago,” Westendorf said. “Are coming with their kids to camp now.”